Partnership to support homeless residents marks one year in Thurrock
A groundbreaking pilot project to help the homeless and those in shelters get back to work spent a year helping vulnerable people in Thurrock.
In December 2021, Thurrock Council launched the project with online crowdfunding platform Beam to help homeless residents access training and support to finally emerge from homelessness by securing stable jobs.
So far, more than 50 residents have been referred to Beam and 15 of those people, ranging from those who sleep poorly to those living in temporary accommodation, have started their crowdfunding campaign. Four residents have taken up paid employment and a further nine are currently looking for a job.
Cllr Luke Spillman, Member of the Cabinet for Housing, said: “I am delighted to hear about the results of this landmark program so far. One resident, Martin, who previously struggled with his mental health, was assisted by several organizations to access help and stable housing. Since then, Beam has helped him regain his confidence by job hunting and practicing job interview skills. Martin started a new full-time position in September.
“We are committed to helping our area’s most vulnerable residents by exploring innovative solutions to ensure the people of Thurrock can enjoy a brighter future. This collaborative partnership with Beam is one such solution and we look forward to seeing what the remaining six months of the program bring.”
Deborah, a resident who has benefited from the program, said: “A year ago I was pregnant, separated from my longtime boyfriend and practically homeless with broken dreams. Earlier this year, the council took me and my baby girl, now seven months old, in and introduced me to the Beam team.
“Within a few weeks I had spoken to my caseworker several times and I was immediately empowered and equipped with a laptop, phone, work clothes and money from the most incredible sponsors I have ever heard of.
“Beam arranged several job interviews for me and it motivated me to continue my job search on my own. When I was told that money was being raised for a course, I almost cried. Beam and I are currently reviewing a programming course at City, University of London. If I pass, I’ll have a better chance of getting a higher-paying position in engineering, and I’ll be able to care for my daughter and move into my own house.”
Seb Barker, Beam Co-Founder and COO said, “Beam’s technology brings local communities closer to homeless people like Deborah who are ready and willing to find work but face many obstacles. It’s amazing to see all of the donations and messages of support on Deborah’s Beam profile that have enabled her to start work and care for her daughter.
“By partnering with Beam, Thurrock Council is investing in new and innovative ways to tackle homelessness and we are excited to be able to help many more disadvantaged people in Thurrock access the support they need to end homelessness for good to leave.”
Individuals in the pilot program have their own fundraising page on Beam’s website and can crowdfund the cost of items that may present a financial barrier to starting work. The page includes their story and a breakdown of the budget, how much they need to raise, what the public can donate to and leave a message of support. 90 percent of the donations are divided between the participants, so that everyone reaches their goal within an average of 16 days.
Thurrock residents who are raising funds include Beauty*, who wants to be a caregiver, and Samantha*, who wants to be a kindergarten assistant.